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What on Earth do you Grow in NY Zone 5?

 
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My inlaws just bought property up in NY (they're from NYC). I was thinking, with their permission, of planting a food forest there. I've lived in the Hudson Valley and know that apples of course do well, but what other things can be grown? Kiwi, American persimmon, what else?

 
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Apples, pears, walnuts, hickory, apricots, plums, cherry and probably many more in the tree department.  Tons of woody berry bushes to choose from as well.

Check out some of Sean's food forest tours on Edible Acres on youtube, he's in upstate NY.
 
James Landreth
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Thank you for the suggestions! Do you think summer watering will be necessary? Here we have to water at least once a week in summer
 
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i wouldn’t worry about watering woody plantings in that area beyond the establishment phase.
 
Mike Haasl
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It might depend on the soil (sandy vs clayey), exposure (windswept and sunny vs protected) and water table height.  I'd likely water them at planting and then once a week for the first two months unless it rains during a particular week.  But that depends a lot on those variables.
 
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Our area of zone 5 Upstate NY (sandy loam) is known for its sweet corn and rhubarb as crops among many others. Things that are naturalized and harvested includes asparagus, elderberry, fiddleheads, ginseng, marsh mallow to mention a few.
 
James Landreth
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Edible Acres  has a peach tree. Does anyone grow peaches? Reliance should be hardy to that area I think.

Any nursery recommendations? I know of St. Lawrence
 
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you should have no problem growing, apples, peaches, plums, cherries, grapes, high bush blueberries, chestnuts, walnuts and many others with great success. for years we had peaches, plums, apples, grapes. on commercial scale in zone 5b.
might want to check with your county extension office for some pointers on what varieties others in your are are growing with success.
as far as vegetables lots and lots will grow there, catalogs such as johnny's will have info for varieties they sell, well they are in Maine , can't be too much different than NY
 
bruce Fine
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as far as watering you should be prepared to water real good every week when it gets dry to protect your investment. drip irrigation, flood, or sprinklers it doesn't matter as long as you can get some water to what you have planted..
when trees are mature and producing the fruits can be very stunted or even drop off it it gets too dry. you never know how much summer rain there will be
 
James Black
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Another resource I love is the NY State Plant Atlas that documents naturalized and native plants in the state into a searchable database and can be broken down by county into sortable tables (my county has 1,204 records, many w/ linked photographs).
 
James Landreth
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Thanks for the information, everyone. I'm always surprised at how much can actually be grown that far north. Definitely gives me a lot of hope!

Any idea on how to avoid lyme's disease while trying to work with a property like this? I'm going to definitely put up deer fencing
 
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Possums are known to nature's best tick control; domestically fowl such as guinea hens are great tick eaters.  

After tick predators it is about prevention: tuck Sox over pant leg bottoms, long sleeves/pants in bushy areas, wide brimmed hat, perhaps with a bug net, possibly toxic gick if it is really endemic in your area. Then a good partner or full length mirror so you can do tick checks, and get a "tick puller, so that any found can be safely removed.

NEVER squeeze an attached tick - that injects toxin; NEVER leave the head behind.

Again, if ticks are a huge concern, consider prophylactic toxic gick for dogs/cats etc, and/or topical sprays for livestock.

This is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don't issues and can only be decided on a risk analysis assessment of your personal circumstances.

A Lyme disease infection can be incredibly debilitating, cause permanent, and long term health issues. It commonly is difficult to diagnose and frightfully expensive to treat, if contracted. Sometimes the ounce of prevention is well worth not having to pay the consequences later. But again, this must be considered very carefully, on a case by case basis.
 
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James, deer grow pretty big up there. true deer fence might have tore  like 8-10' tall, that what some growers in New Jersey use that ive seen.
I have personally seen a deer jump over a 5' fence from standing still right next to it. when my uncles apple trees were mature there was so much loss on 250 apple trees we just about gave up on them, we had huge deer pressure as more and more sub divisions were built on surrounding land that was previously farm land.
lyme disease is only one health problem, there is now rocky mt spotted fever and babesiosis from ticks, keep yourself covered, wearing painters pants when out in high tick areas will help you easily spot the critters, there are some substances you can put on cloths to deter ticks from sticking to you, neem is one and I believe there are some essential oils that might be good, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass maybe some others. I was hospitalized from tick bite two years ago and lost almost 6 moths of my life from it so I know a little bit about this.
keep grasses mowed down or get goats, sheep, cattle to graze, guinni hens will eat lots of ticks from what ive read, possums eat ticks too.
 
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Ach!  forgive if this is already posted.I lost it before I hit submit, but I'm not really sure of anything but that I already wrote this

I commented on the perils of fruit trees early flowering.  Many climates include a slow gentle steady warming, but mine does not!   My suggestion for this situation is to place fruit trees in the coolest places on your property, north facing slope,or north side of large building (barn).  This retards the flowering  
 
James Landreth
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Ach!  forgive if this is already posted.I lost it before I hit submit, but I'm not really sure of anything but that I already wrote this

I commented on the perils of fruit trees early flowering.  Many climates include a slow gentle steady warming, but mine does not!   My suggestion for this situation is to place fruit trees in the coolest places on your property, north facing slope,or north side of large building (barn).  This retards the flowering  




That's good advice. I know people here often do that.
 
James Landreth
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Does anyone grow quince in NY or a similar area? I know some varieties are cold-hardy to the area, but how bad of an issue is fireblight?
 
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Perfect Circle Farm in VT
Sacred Circle Farm in VT
Fedco Up in Maine.
Haven't tried Oikos yet but they're doing cool stuff.

There's a relict tree nursery outside of Philadelphia. As I understand it, the guy who started it had done some work with an agricultural station in Tennessee collecting some choice genetics of various tree crops. One can get their hands on some genetic material. Think really large walnuts and hickories, high sugar honey locusts etc. I can't find the link to the story with the folks names who catalogue it.

Edible Acres.
Twisted Tree Farm.
Tripple Brook Farm.

On FB there's a Northeast Scion Exchange group and folk seem to have a lot of knowledge and plant material.

There's a Castanea Dentata Society that's doing some genetic work to revive the species. They'll send you some trees, for a donation.

Geneva Agricultural Station in NY. I know some folk around here who make good use of various state college affiliated agricultural stations. I think it's Missouri's that a lotta folk use? Their stock seems to go quickly.  

I'm technically in 5b too. This past year we had a wild drought. The general trend has been hotter and drier stretches punctuated by storms. How much time do you have for management? How easy is it to get mulch materials? Is there a water source on the property?

 
James Landreth
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Thank you for listing all those farms and resources, I'll be sure to look them up


I'll be there only a couple times a year but I have family who will be there more often. I have access to mulch and can lay irrigation. There's a well for water



Kamaar Taliaferro wrote:Perfect Circle Farm in VT
Sacred Circle Farm in VT
Fedco Up in Maine.
Haven't tried Oikos yet but they're doing cool stuff.

There's a relict tree nursery outside of Philadelphia. As I understand it, the guy who started it had done some work with an agricultural station in Tennessee collecting some choice genetics of various tree crops. One can get their hands on some genetic material. Think really large walnuts and hickories, high sugar honey locusts etc. I can't find the link to the story with the folks names who catalogue it.

Edible Acres.
Twisted Tree Farm.
Tripple Brook Farm.

On FB there's a Northeast Scion Exchange group and folk seem to have a lot of knowledge and plant material.

There's a Castanea Dentata Society that's doing some genetic work to revive the species. They'll send you some trees, for a donation.

Geneva Agricultural Station in NY. I know some folk around here who make good use of various state college affiliated agricultural stations. I think it's Missouri's that a lotta folk use? Their stock seems to go quickly.  

I'm technically in 5b too. This past year we had a wild drought. The general trend has been hotter and drier stretches punctuated by storms. How much time do you have for management? How easy is it to get mulch materials? Is there a water source on the property?

 
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St. Lawrence Nurseries is in way far upstate New York and has lots of super cold hardy fruit trees.
 
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Not sure your exact zip code, but we ship trees to NY and you can even keep them potted if you didn't want to put them in the ground. Check out citrus.com and it can tell you what trees are available for shipping to your location and how you should care for them! We have Lemon, Lime, Kimquat, and Tangerine trees just to name a few.
 
James Landreth
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Mike Haasl wrote:Apples, pears, walnuts, hickory, apricots, plums, cherry and probably many more in the tree department.  Tons of woody berry bushes to choose from as well.

Check out some of Sean's food forest tours on Edible Acres on youtube, he's in upstate NY.




Are people successfully growing apricots in the Midwest or northeast to your knowledge? Some varieties are hardy to zone 4 but I wonder about disease
 
Mike Haasl
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Hmmm, my apricots are too young to base anything on but I got them from a permaculture nursery in zone 5 near Lake Superior.  So with a very limited sample size, I'd say that with the right varieties you might want to give it a limited shot.
 
James Landreth
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I'm wondering about Chicago Hardy Fig, in a sheltered location with lots of mulch?

Thank you for the wealth of knowledge, everyone!
 
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There are already some great replies here but thought I'd chime in with a few other suggestions since I'm in a similar region. A few other fruit trees that grow well here include paw paws, Asian pears, and serviceberries. Not sure if you're exclusively looking for tree suggestions but elderberries, Nanking cherries, and currants (though these are not allowed in many areas due to being a vector for white pine blister rust, so be sure to check local regs and/or stick with the rust resistant varieties) are quite productive here too. We also have success with hazelberts (if you can beat the squirrels to 'em), butternuts, and black walnuts if you're interested in nuts. The folks I know who grow figs around here (Chicago Hardy or Brown Turkish) generally either protect them in winter (wrapping them and/or having them in high tunnels) or have them in pots and bring them inside, though I'm thinking of trying some out in a sheltered, south facing spot to see if they can overwinter on their own. This year I grew maypop (Passiflora incarnata) from seed and the plant did set fruit but the squirrels ate them all long before they matured so not clear whether they would have matured before frost. I'm hopeful they will overwinter here but not certain - that species is sometimes listed as hardy to zone 6 and sometimes to zone 5 - but if they do and I can protect them from the squirrels next year then perhaps I could get mature fruit. IMO, they are worth growing even without fruit for their incredible, tropical-looking and -smelling flowers and the medicinal foliage. There are some varieties of prickly pear hardy here too but they can be hard to find. I know Edible Acres was selling some several years ago but I don't believe they have in recent years, at least not online.

For sourcing, I second the recommendations for St Lawrence Nurseries and Fedco (they have separate catalogs for seeds, potatoes/onions/exotics, and trees/other perennial planting stock). The maypop seed came from Experimental Farm Network, which has some other great stuff too but only some of it will be hardy here since their seed growers I believe are spread throughout the Northeast and Midatlantic regions. They have a couple of varieties of prickly pear seeds which are from further south so might or might not work in zone 5. For regionally adapted seeds, I'm a fan of Fruition Seeds and Hudson Valley Seed Company, though I don't believe either carry any perennial fruit seeds/planting stock. I did get saffron crocus tubers from Fruition though!

This is my first post, so I hope something in it was useful!
 
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